HOME AFFAIRS: Pregnancy: Exercise during pregnancy

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can help you stay healthy and feel your best.

It can also improve your posture and decrease some common discomforts like backaches and fatigue.

There is evidence that it may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), relieve stress, and build more stamina needed for labour and delivery.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity with modifications as necessary.

You can exercise at your former level as long as you are comfortable and have your doctor’s approval.

If you have never exercised regularly before, you can safely begin an exercise programme during pregnancy after consulting with your health care provider.

 Do not try a new, strenuous activity. Walking and swimming are considered safe to initiate when pregnant.

Exercise during pregnancy does wonders. It boosts mood, improves sleep, and reduces aches and pains. It also prepares you for childbirth by strengthening muscles and building endurance, and makes it much easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.

Research suggests that prenatal exercise may also lower the risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, exercise can help you manage the condition and prevent complications.

There are usually many questions that come to mind when planning how to exercise during pregnancy. Physical exercise is bodily activity that improves or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.

This type of exercise during pregnancy is important and can help with some common discomforts of pregnancy and even help prepare your body for labor and delivery.

Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Dress in layers so it’s easy to peel off a layer or two after you’ve warmed up or if you get overheated. Make sure your maternity bra is supportive enough, and choose athletic shoes that fit properly.

If your shoe size has changed because of mild swelling, stash away your pre-pregnancy sneakers and buy a new pair. You may want to swap out the liners they came with for gel liners that provide better shock absorption.

Overall and in most cases, exercise is safe during pregnancy. You will usually find it is even recommended. Typically, the first rule of thumb is if you were physically active before you were pregnant, it is likely safe to remain active during pregnancy. More than likely, your healthcare provider will tell you to remain active, as long as it is comfortable and there are no other health conditions suggesting otherwise.

For most pregnant women, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended on most, if not all, days of the week.

Walking is a great exercise for beginners. It provides moderate aerobic conditioning with minimal stress on your joints. Other good choices include swimming, low-impact aerobics and cycling on a stationary bike. Strength training is OK, too, as long as you stick to relatively low weights.

Remember to warm up, stretch and cool down. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and be careful to avoid overheating.

Intense exercise increases oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and away from your uterus. In general, you should be able to carry on a conversation while you’re exercising.

Warming up prepares your muscles and joints for exercise and increases your heart rate slowly. If you skip the warm-up and jump into strenuous activity before your body is ready, you could strain your muscles and ligaments and have more aches and pains after your workout.

A good way to warm up is to start your chosen activity at a low intensity and slowly increase it during the first five to eight minutes. This prepares the muscles you’ll be using for more vigorous movement.

For example, if your workout is walking, go slowly for the first few minutes and gradually pick up the pace.

Author: Adam Jobe